For the traveler who wishes to see it all, this is the perfect vacation to explore Eastern Europe from Vienna to Istanbul. Visit the must-see sights and hear about the long and fascinating history as you journey through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republic of Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
Tour highlights include the city of Split, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the 4th-century Diocletian's Palace, a well-preserved fortress; Rector's Palace in Dubrovnik, a gothic-renaissance palace dating to the 15th century; Mostar’s Old Bridge, the city's symbol built in the 16th century; the ancient Holy Sofia Church, built in the 6th century and today a symbol of Sofia; the city of Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Macedonia; the Natural History Museum in Tirana, Albania; and Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, dating back to the 6th century, and Blue Mosque, the 17th-century mosque with beautiful blue tiles in its interior.
Scenic highlights include Plitvice National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its lakes, waterfalls, and forests. Also visit stunning Kotor in Montenegro, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled into the Bay of Kotor, the Mediterranean Sea’s deepest natural fjord.
Lark Tours has also included some unique experiences. You'll visit the Stare Selo Ethnological Museum, an outdoor museum in the heart of the village of Kumrovec, Croatia, where you’ll learn what life was like in this rural area at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. In Sarajevo, Globus has included a visit to the Sarajevo Tunnel built between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War.
These are just some of the many highlights on this Eastern Europe tour. You’ll also have three nights in Istanbul with time to see all the must-see sights and for exploring on your own—a great way to end your vacation!
From Vienna to Istanbul
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DAY 1 Arrive in Vienna, Austria
Welcome to Vienna! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions, and leave the hotel for a special welcome dinner with Heurigen wine.
DAY 2 Vienna
Your guided sightseeing features a drive along the Ringstrasse. Pass the State Opera House, the Jewish quarter, and stop at the Hofburg Palace, winter residence of the Austrian imperial family. Marvel at the impressive courtyards and famous HELDENPLATZ, and visit awesome ST. STEPHEN’S CATHEDRAL. Tonight you may join an optional evening out for dinner and a concert in one of Vienna’s many concert halls.
DAY 3 Vienna–Kumrovec, Croatia–Zagreb
Enter Croatia, and stop in the town of Kumrovec for [Lark Tours Local Favorite] [Globus Local Favorite] a visit of the open-air Stare Selo ETHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM, and for an early dinner with regional specialties. Then, head for Zagreb, capital of Croatia.Breakfast
DAY 4 Zagreb–Plitvice–Zadar Area
Guided sightseeing this morning features all important landmarks of the Lower and medieval Upper Town, such as the Parliament, Stone Gate, the Archbishop’s Palace, plus a visit to the majestic CATHEDRAL. Continue to Plitvice, and soak in the pure beauty of the NATIONAL PARK, famous for its lakes, waterfalls, and forests. Drive towards the beautiful Adriatic coast for your overnight stay.Breakfast
DAY 5 Zadar Area–Split
Your Local Guide will tell you about the turbulent history of this city, fighting off the Venetians, crusaders, and Turks over the centuries. Continue to Split, the ancient Spalato, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your guided walking tour, learn about the history of this captivating resort and visit the labyrinth of 4th-century DIOCLETIAN’S PALACE, a well-preserved fortress and a living part of the Old Town. This evening, enjoy a special dinner with wine at a local restaurant.Breakfast
DAY 6 Split–Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina–Sarajevo
Enter Bosnia-Herzegovina and stop in the city of Mostar. Admire the OLD BRIDGE, the city’s symbol, ordered by Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman ruler in 1566, to replace the older wooden bridge. Continue to Sarajevo, where the Olympics took place in 1984, and the first city in Europe to own an electric tram network.Breakfast
DAY 7 Sarajevo–Dubrovnik, Croatia
Hear about the assassination of the Archduke of Austria in 1914, the recent Bosnian War, and see the main sights with a Local Guide. An incomparable visit has been included to the [Lark Tours Local Favorite] [Globus Local Favorite] SARAJEVO TUNNEL, built between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Return to Croatia and arrive in Dubrovnik, beautifully situated on a promontory jutting into the Adriatic Sea.Breakfast
DAY 8 Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik was once an independent maritime republic rivaling Venice. Enjoy a walking tour with a Local Guide and see the impressive ramparts, erected during the Crusades to protect the town against land attacks, and the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries. You will also visit the 15th-century RECTOR’S PALACE. Afternoon and evening at leisure; an optional boat cruise is available.
DAY 9 Dubrovnik–Kotor, Republic of Montenegro–Tirana, Albania
Enjoy a visit to the Republic of Montenegro and visit stunning Kotor on the northern part of the Montenegrin coastline. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is fringed by mountains and nestled into the Bay of Kotor, the deepest natural fjord in the Mediterranean Sea. Protected by an impressive wall since the early Middle Ages, the city has one of the best preserved medieval Old Towns in the Adriatic. Your Local Guide will take you on a walk along its winding, cobblestone streets to marvel at the picturesque squares and Romanesque churches. Next is Albania, a country that was closed to tourists for many years. Continue to the capital, Tirana.Breakfast
DAY 10 Tirana–Ohrid, Macedonia
Follow your Local Guide on a walking tour and hear about the turbulent history of this interesting city that was originally founded as an Ottoman town and became Albania’s capital in 1920. Occupied by fascist forces during World War II, and under communist influence after the war, the city is an interesting mixture of architecture. Visit the National History Museum at Skanderbeg Square. Your next destination is Ohrid with its beautiful lake, where a guided walking tour features the OLD TOWN with its picturesque houses and many churches. Reportedly, Ohrid once had 365 churches—one for each day of the year. Time afterwards to relax and enjoy this charming area.Breakfast
DAY 11 Ohrid–Skopje–Sofia, Bulgaria
Stop in the capital of Macedonia, Skopje, and meet your Local Guide. Hear about Macedonia’s proud history and see its main sites, like the Millennium Cross, built to celebrate 2,000 years of Christianity; the Memorial House of Mother Theresa, who came from here; and the ALEXANDER THE GREAT STATUE on Macedonia Square. Later, cross the border and arrive in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia.Breakfast
DAY 12 Sofia
Hear about the history of this fascinating city during your guided sightseeing tour. Sofia was known as Serdica centuries before Christ, and was even ruled for a while by Alexander the Great’s father, Philip of Macedonia. Visit the ancient HOLY SOFIA CHURCH.
DAY 13 Sofia–Istanbul, Turkey
Leave Bulgaria and continue to Istanbul, founded by the Greeks as Byzantium more than 2,500 years ago, renamed Constantinople in 330 AD when the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great selected it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, and finally called Istanbul after the Ottoman conquest in the 15th century.Breakfast
DAY 14 Istanbul
The city on the Bosporus remains one of the most exciting places in the world. Its strategic location as gateway between Orient and Occident, the Islamic and the Christian worlds, and the Black Sea and the Mediterranean predestined it for a turbulent history. Guided sightseeing features visits to TOPKAPI PALACE, the residence of the Ottoman Sultans, the HAGIA SOPHIA, Sultan Ahmet’s BLUE MOSQUE, the ROMAN HIPPODROME, and the GRAND BAZAAR.
DAY 15 At Leisure in Istanbul
Full day at leisure to further explore this fascinating city—a relaxing optional boat cruise on the Bosporus, followed by a visit to the Underground Cistern brought to life in Dan Brown’s bestseller Inferno, is available. Tonight, a [Lark Tours Local Favorite] [Globus Local Favorite] special farewell dinner with wine awaits you at a local restaurant in Kumkapi district.Breakfast
DAY 16 Istanbul
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.Breakfast